A Home for Windsor's Tech Community

Newspaper Data Mining Challenge

March 7, 2023

by Lauren Hedges in News

A collage of images. On the far left is a photograph of an old, yellowed, and slightly damaged copy of "The Kingsville Reporter" newspaper. In the centre is a recent photograph of a roll of microfilm, with a hadnwritten note stating "Essex Free Press / 04, 11, 18, 25, 2007" underneath it. The note is written on letterhead from the Ontario Community Newspaper Association. On the right is a set of overlapping digital newspaper scans in black and white. The quality of the scans varies, and only one title can be made out: "The Essex Free Press."

The University of Windsor’s Leddy Library and Academic Data Centre has partnered with the Essex County Library System and Hackforge to promote a data mining challenge using digitized local newspapers.

Papers dating as far back as 1982 have been made available as OCR (Optical Character Recognition) data, allowing users to query 60 years of local history. A Notebook that walks users through the basic process of accessing and querying the data has also been made available.

Leddy Library is inviting the community to come up with their own ways to use this important and extensive data collection. Interested parties can submit ideas or completed code that could potentially be used on the thousands of pages of newspapers that have been digitized.

If you have questions about this challenge, contact libdata@uwindsor.ca.

March 2023 at Hackforge

March 2, 2023

by Lauren Hedges in News

Border City Data: Data Mining Essex County’s Rich Newspaper History

Monday, March 6th @ 6pm | 5950 Malden Road (Lasalle Branch of the Essex County Library)
Facebook | Linkedin | Meetup

Text collections and textual analysis offer a unique and largely untapped combination for applying data mining techniques and computational analysis to generate new insights into the past. This is particularly true for newspaper collections.

Newspaper pages typically have eight times the amount of text that appears on a book page, and a modest weekly newspaper can represent many thousands of pages of local content for even the smallest of communities.The Leddy Library at the University of Windsor has been digitizing local newspapers with partners for over a decade, including the Amherstburg Echo, the Essex Free Press, and the Border Cities Star. With the help of the Essex County Library System, this session kicks off a month-long event to encourage the use of digitized newspapers for data mining and text analysis. Participants in the entire program are eligible for one of ten $50 Amazon gift cards and a guide to the newspapers that have recorded the history of our region.

This free, in-person event will provide background on the digitization process and the plan for the month ahead. Hope to see you there!

Location: Program Room of the LaSalle Branch of the Essex County Library (inside the LaSalle Civic Centre at 5950 Malden Road)

OSM Windosr-Essex Explores MapRoulette

Thursday, March 16th @ 6pm
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This month we’ve pulled MapRoulette as our highlight from the never-ending list of OpenStreetMap tools. In this 60(ish) minute session, we’ll take an overview of how MapRoulette works, followed by a discussion on how we can use it to improve OSM data in Windsor-Essex. Come with ideas for local data points that can use some updating!

This event is free and everyone is welcome. While an OSM account and some experience with the platform is recommended, neither is required. Register via Zoom and we’ll see you on Thursday, March 16th at 6pm.

February 2023 at Hackforge

February 1, 2023

by Lauren Hedges in Events, News

Intro to Lakehouse Architecture

Thursday, February 9th @ 6pm
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Join special guest speaker Deepak Kaushik for a rundown of Azure Lakehouse. This modern data management architecture combines the cost-efficiency, scale, and flexibility features of a data lake with the data and transaction management capabilities of a data warehouse.

In this one-hour session, Deepak will cover:

  • Concept
  • Demo
  • Real time challenges
  • Q/A

This virtual event takes place on Thursday, February 9th at 6pm. Register now via Zoom to reserve your spot.

Speaker Bio:

Deepak is a Microsoft Azure MVP. His breadth and depth of knowledge have enabled him to lead the development of various products/solutions around Microsoft Azure. Deepak is a knowledgeable and sought-after speaker within IT circles and consulted regularly by companies formulating their Cloud strategies.

Deepak on Linkedin

Twitter: @ThinkforDeepak


Border City Data: Behind-the-Scenes of ADUSearch

Monday, Februatry 13th @ 6pm
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Launching in early February, ADUSearch is a data-driven application intended to empower property owners, industry professionals, policymakers, non-profit housing providers, and researchers to see the potential of detached ADUs in Canadian municipalities.

In this edition of Border City Data, host Doug Sartori will be joined by ADUSearch leadership and GIS researchers to discuss how the application was made. Attendees will get the chance to see some of the ArcGIS processes that went into creating the geodata that drives the project, as well as how Doug and his team at Parallel 42 Systems turned that data into an interactive web app. Attendees will have a chance to ask questions at the end of the session.

This virtual event will take place via Zoom on Monday, February 13th from 6 – 7:30 pm. There is no cost to attend and everyone is welcome.

OSM Windsor-Essex: Croissants & Cartography

Thursday, Februatry 16th @ 6pm
Facebook Linkedin Meetup

Come meet other local mappers in person at this low-key event. Bring your laptop and/or favourite mobile editing app and do some collaborative mapping!

This is a great opportunity to make connections in the OSM community as well as to ask questions and get advice from other active OSM contributors. Whether you’re brand new or well-seasoned, we’d love to have you out!

Serratore Bistro-Café (98 University Ave, W.) is new to Windsor’s downtown, so this is also a great chance to check them out! We recommend the chocolate croissant, but also hear great things about their paninis.We’ll be hanging out from 6 – 8pm. Drop in for a quick visit or stay the whole time – however you prefer!

AWS Re:Invent Re:Cap

Tuesday, January 21st @ 6:30pm
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AWS Re:Invent took place between November 28 and December 2, 2022 in Las Vegas. For those who were unable to make the trip, the Windsor AWS User Group is going to be rehashing everything on Tuesday, February 21st.

Hear about news and updates in the world of Amazon Web Services, and connect with other AWS users at this free, virtual event.

  • 6:30 PM – 6:45 PM Meet and greet
  • 6:45 PM – 7:45 RE:CAP – brief overview of all cool technologies introduced at RE:INVENT
  • 7:45 PM – 8:00 PM – Post event discussion, Q&A, career advice, project advice, industry trends, anything AWS related, etc

We’ll be posting a Chime link and the AWS speaker shortly – follow the Linkedin Event for all the latest updates.

Winfosec: OWASP Top 10 Session 4: Insecure design

Friday, February 24th @ 7pm
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Join us to learn about a new entrant into the OWASP list: Insecure Design. We’ll look at common mistakes made in the design of software that can affect security, and give advice on what to do instead.

This is our fourth session on OWASP Top 10 – visit our Youtube channel to review past events.

This is a virtual event that will be held via Zoom.

Message from the Chair

January 31, 2023

by Lauren Hedges in News

It’s great to be back as part of the Hackforge governance team. We’ve met a couple times since the Annual General Meeting. We’re currently working on aligning the Hackforge mission and strategy with the needs of the community. One of the first changes we’ve decided to make is an end to membership fees. Hackforge has financial stability and modest expenses, so we can continue to deliver our programming without asking our members to contribute monthly. From now on, we’ll consider anyone who has donated money to the organization or volunteered their time for Hackforge in any capacity in the previous twelve months as a member with standing to vote at our Annual General Meetings.

With that in mind I’d like to encourage folks reading this message to consider volunteering for Hackforge in 2023. We can scale your contribution to fit your available time. Whether you want to organize a whole interest group or help us out with programming once in a while, there is a volunteer role that will fit your skill set and schedule. Please touch base with Lauren or a board member if you want to learn more.

— Doug Sartori, Chair of the Hackforge Board of Directors

January 2023 at Hackforge

January 3, 2023

by Lauren Hedges in Events

Border City Data: Using the Bank of Canada’s API

Thursday, January 19th @ 6pm
Facebook | Linkedin | Meetup | Register

The Bank of Canada provides a huge amount of useful economic data through its Valet API. This service allows organizations and individuals to tap into a massive pool of up-to-date global economic information, including exchange and interest rates.

In this month’s Border City Data meetup, Doug Sartori walks through this useful tool and demonstrates an application that consumes it. This free, online event is happening on Thursday, January 19th at 6pm. Register via Zoom to attend.

Winfosec – OWASP Top 10 Session 3: Cryptographic Failures

Wednesday, January 25th @ 7pm
Facebook | Linkedin | Meetup | Register

After a short break for the Holidays, Winfosec is back! In this talk we’ll explore all things encryption and how to keep sensitive data safe. We’ll have live demonstrations on password hashing, sniffing, and HTTPS.

Register for this free event on Zoom, and visit the Hackforge Youtube channel to see sessions 1 and 2.

Rescheduled! OSM Windsor-Essex: Working with GPS Traces

Monday, January 30th @ 6pm
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When adding your own data to OpenStreetMap, there are alternatives to drawing lines by hand – such as GPS traces!In this month’s meetup, we’ll be taking a pre-recorded GPS trace and using it to improve the data available for a local park. Our editing platform will be JOSM, so if you’re new to the system and missed October’s event it is highly recommended you check out the recording.

Originally planned for December 2022, this event has been rescheduled to January 30, 2023. Register to receive the Zoom invite.

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